The two Neptune man charged with killing a 10-year old Asbury Park boy and injuring his mother in February of 2018 have both been sentenced to lengthy terms in prison, announced Monmouth County Proseuctor Chris Gramiccioni.

Karon Council, 19 of Neptune Township was sentenced to 25 years in prison while co-defendant Jah-Del K. Birch was sentenced to 10-years in prison for their roles in the shooting death of Yovanni Banos-Merino, an unintended target of the bullets fired at a home in the 400 block of Ridge Avenue in Asbury Park around 10:41 pm on Wednesday February 21, 2018.

Asbury Park police responded to a 911 call that night and arrived to find the 10-year-old child and his 38-year-old mother were suffering from gunshot wounds.

The child’s mother was treated and released for her injuries, however the child was pronounced dead at 11:18 p.m.

A joint investigation was then conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Asbury Park Police Department, with assistance from Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Neptune Township Police Department who determined that Council and Birch arrived at the home to target another occupant also present within the home but who was not injured during the incident.

The child was not the intended target of the shooting and the investigation also revealed that Council was the person who fired the gun.

On Friday morning, January 11, 2019, the Honorable Judge Richard W. English, J.S.C. sentenced Karon Council who is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) requiring him to serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole and a mandatory period of parole supervision of five years after his release from state prison.

Council and Birch, both of Neptune Township, plead guilty to their roles in the shooting death of Yovanni Banos-Merino on October 22, 2018 and both plead guilty to first degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Both plea agreements were made in consultation with the boy’s mother, who was also injured in the shooting incident.

In a separate proceeding, held today, Birch, 17, was also sentenced by Judge English.

Birch’s sentence is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) requiring him to serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole and a mandatory period of supervision after release.

The case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner and Joseph Cummings.

Council is represented by Paul Zager, Esq., of Red Bank.

Birch is represented by Jeffrey Coghlan, Esq., of Freehold.

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